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Treatment Methods

Lifestyle changes

Canaries learn to avoid substances which provoke symptoms. It's tough giving some things up, but when it results in less pain and disability, that's rather motivating. The hardest part is keeping track of our health in enough detail to have a good idea what makes us sick -- what to avoid.

We also find motivating benefits from avoiding stress, getting regular sleep and exercise, eating a healthy diet ... all those disciplines which make sense but are hard to learn.

Alternative methods

Some of the ways we discover to change our lives seem weird — but clearly help; we learn to be very empirical about finding what we need: what works, works.

Desensitization

Supplementation

Supplements can support weakened body systems, and in some cases heal them; see

Oxygen

Benefits:

  • Diminishes or neutralizes reactions
  • Reduces pain
  • Supports weakend body systems

Sources:

  • Some cities have "Oxygen Bars" — where you can walk in, pay your money, and breathe the real thing for a short time.
  • In some stores you can buy small cans of oxygen ( a little larger than a can of whipped cream).
  • But in order to have a decent supply, you need either...
    • An oxygen concentrator However unless it has filters, this will also concentrate everything else in the ambient air, because it basically just removes nitrogen. You need to make sure good air goes into it.
    • Tanks of compressed pure oxygen from a medical gas supplier.
      • A "Home Health Care Provider" — requires a prescription. Your insurance may or may not cover it.
      • From the plant that bottles it. Look in the yellow pages for these, under "oxygen" or "medical gases."

Equipment:

  • You can rent it all from the HHCP, but they're unlikely to have anything specifically for canaries.
  • Special canary gear:
    • Most commonly: Tygon plastic tubing, called a cannula, that sits in the nostrils. It's flexible, lightweight, and easy to use. However, it's vinyl. The Living Source says they treat theirs to reduce outgassing, but warn not to let it get hot or it will outgas more again.
    • Stainless steel tubing: no rubber or plastic or any other component besides the stainless. Made in a coil; somewhat flexible: you have to get used to using it.
      • available from Environmental Purification Systems in Concord, CA: 800.829.2129
      • requires a regulator with a threaded DISS (Diameter Index Safety System) outlet connection to the tubing. (This outlet will not work with the plastic tubing, which connects by friction fit. But you can get an adaptor that screws into the DISS outlet, and will accept the plastic.) [Apologies for incorrect information formerly here.*]
      • Attach it to a ceramic face mask.
    • Tygon tubing and ceramic masks available from

My Experience:

  • When I visited the Clinical Ecologist frequently, I often saw patients (including me) given oxygen to neutralize a variety of reactions, to many different substances.
  • My GP prescribed it after I visited a neurologist and described my headaches and my inability to use pharmaceuticals because of the chemicals in them. The neurologist's letter to the GP said that there was precedent for using oxygen to relieve the kind of headaches I was having.
  • The stainless steel tubing was a great relief to me for a while; it was wonderful getting the help of oxygen without the phthalate smell that sickens me. However after a while my neck muscles, which already have a lot of problems, started acting up. I couldn't seem to get the stainless tubing to lie straight, so the mask would fit — and I couldn't relax the neck muscles that were trying to compensate.

Detoxification

  • Chelation is popular among some doctors, but it has major problems.
  • Dietary detoxification and fasting
  • Physical methods: sauna, mineral baths
    • The Hubbard technique has produced good results; it requires close supervision by an experienced clinician.
    • On the AMALGAM email list, Ray Saarela says "sweating can be much more dangerous than DMSA, as it redistributes organic mercury to heart muscle, and brains, and can cause arrhythmias and brain fog ,this has happened with numerous who are actually poisoned and know what I am talking about ...DMSA is less dangerous than sweating, at least so, for moderately to heavily poisoned. Only very slightly poisoned may benefit from mild saunas." (Date = Thu, 10 Jan 2002 23:13:34 EST; Subject = DMSA. The message, though from Ray, is forwarded by Pat Kultgen.) (see directions for AMALGAM access)

Mind/body techniques

Biofeedback, various kinds of meditation, and stress-reduction disciplines all can be useful.

* I had said the regulator does not use the PISS, Pin Index Safety System - but that's not true; it uses that too, on a different connection: the one between the regulator and the tank. The PISS system uses metal prongs that insert into holes in the supply device. For each medical gas they're arranged differently, so you can't connect to the wrong gas.

copyright © 2001 by Catherine Holmes Clark. Last updated 4 January 2008